“Chasing Marrakech” by Zhu has been one of my favorite songs since the moment it was released. Listening to the song, I’d dream about exploring the best things to do in Marrakech, running through the streets, shopping the souks, and eating amazing Moroccan food.
I don’t remember the first time I was introduced to Marrakech, but I know that from the moment I was, I knew I needed to go. After two canceled trips, the third attempt was truly the charm.
I finally made it to the Red City (and can confirm that “Chasing Marrakech” is the perfect theme song for a Moroccan adventure).
Marrakech didn’t disappoint. The city is full of culture and gorgeous architecture at historic sites such as Ibn ben Youssef Madrasa and Bahia Palace, to glitterati-worthy nightlife in Gueliz. Of course, the luxury city in Marrakech is home to several lavish resorts and stunning, high-end riads for travelers looking to indulge (don’t skip a trip to the hammam).
Before my trip, I heard all kinds of rumors and horror stories about solo female travel in Marrakech, ranging from the city being so safe for solo travelers that I shouldn’t worry at all to the city being so dangerous that I simply shouldn’t even think of going alone.
I had the experience of traveling to Marrakech, both accompanied by my boyfriend and flying solo. The experiences were incredibly different, to the point that I wouldn’t trust the opinion of anyone who hasn’t spent time alone in the city.
Regardless of how you travel, there are a few things to do in Marrakech that simply shouldn’t be skipped.
Click below to explore tours for some of the best things to do in Marrakech:
Best Things to Do in Marrakech for Solo Travelers
Marrakech’s busy streets and rich history make it easy to explore the city alone. There’s no shortage of unique things to do and experiences for solo travelers.
Ibn Ben Youssef Madrasa
At the height of its popularity, Ben Youssef Madrasa was one of the largest Islamic colleges in the Maghreb region. The school housed over 900 students in over 130 rooms. Today, the former school is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Instagram hotspot, attracting creators and photographers looking for the best photo locations in Marrakech.
Ben Youssef Madrasa was founded in the 14th century, expanded in 1565, and restored in the 19th century to its current state. Carved cedar wood and ornate archways cover the deceptively large building.
Admission to Ben Youssef Madrasa is 50 dh ($5 USD). The madrasa is open 9 am to 6 pm, daily, with the exception of select religious holidays. I visited the madrasa an hour into opening, and it was already busy, filled with tour groups. If you’re looking to get the best shot, I recommend visiting as early as possible.
Wander the Souks
Wandering the souks is one of the best things to do in Marrakech for any tourist. Marrakech’s historic market is chaotic but enchanting, like a labyrinth of curiosities.
The souks are great for travelers on a budget—there’s tons of amazing deals to be found here on popular souvenirs like leather goods such as poufs, argan oil, and handwoven pillow covers. Of course, it’s totally possible not to spend anything at all—you don’t need to buy admission to the souks, it’s free to explore.
You definitely don’t need to go on a Marrakech souk tour, but they can be helpful for travelers uncomfortable with haggling and negotiating in a chaotic environment, and for travelers who want to make sure they don’t miss anything.
For a complete guide to the Marrakech souks, including how to avoid scams and the best things to buy in Marrakech, click here.
Find the best Marrakech souk tours below:
Built by Grand Vizier Is Moussa in the 1860s and expanded by his son, Abu “Bou” Ahmed, from 1894 to 1900, Bahia Palace is an expansive, ornate palace just a short walk from Jemaa el Fna. The 8000 square meter property is an extravagant display of zouak (painted wood), plasterwork, Zellij tile work, and carved cedar wood.
Bahia Palace is comprised of the Petit Riad, Grand Riad, and Cour d’Honneur, a 1500 square meter courtyard with a floor made of Italian Carrara marble. The palace is so large that even when I visited during peak hours, there were still areas of the palace that felt relatively empty.
Bahia Palace is open 9 am to 5 pm daily. Admission to the palace is 70 dh ($7 USD) for adults and 30 dh ($3 USD) for children.
A stark contrast to Bahia Palace’s colorful facade, Badi Palace is a ruined palace in Marrakech’s Medina. Saadi sultan Ahmed Al Mansour commissioned the palace in the late 1570s. The palace took approximately 25 years to construct, containing over 350 believed rooms, in addition to a large pool and several manicured gardens.
When civil war broke out in Morocco following Sultan Ahmed el Mansour’s death in 1603, a power struggle for the role of his successor lasted nearly 25 years. During this time, the palace began to decay. Moulay Al-Rashid eventually became sultan in 1666, and his half-brother, Moulay Ismail, came into power just five years later.
Moulay Ismail destroyed Badi Palace, stripping it of its splendor and luxurious materials out of hunger to construct his own palaces and cultural sites in Meknes.
Badi Palace’s ruins are now a preserved cultural heritage site, regarded as one of the best things to do in Marrakech. El Badi Palace is open to tourists from 9 am to 5 pm daily. Admission can be purchased at the palace for 70 dh ($7 USD).
Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite enough time to visit El Badi Palace during my time in Marrakech but am looking forward to going on my next trip.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
Famed couturier Yves Saint Laurent has been among Marrakech’s most prolific residents over the years. The French fashion designer first reached Marrakech in February 1966, staying at La Mamounia long before it was the luxury playground it is now. With his partner, Pierre Bergé, he bought a house in the city, thus beginning an entrancement with the city lasting over 40 years.
The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech is a tribute to the late designer’s life and work. Featuring temporary and permanent exhibition halls of Yves Saint Laurent’s archive couture pieces, photography, and art; the museum is one of the largest dedicated projects to YSL in the world.
In addition to public exhibitions, the YSL Museum also participates in the preventive and restorative conservation of YSL’s archive. For this reason, the museum is closed each year for the month of February. As a fashion designer, the YSL Museum was at the top of my list of things to do in Marrakech, and unfortunately, the annual February closure of the museum was the reason I couldn’t go.
The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is open to the public from 10 am to 6:30 pm daily, except on Wednesdays when the museum is closed. Final admission is at 6 pm. Tickets sell out frequently, and should be purchased online in advance.
Admission to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is 130 dh ($13 USD) for adults, and 65 dh ($6.50 USD) for international students and children above 10 years old. Children under 10 years old, those with disability cards, and travel agents receive free admission.
After many years in Marrakech, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought Jardin Majorelle in 1980. The duo sought to maintain the creator, French Orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle’s original vision for the property.
Created in 1923 with 135 plant species, Jardin Majorelle now contains over 300 different types of plants from five continents. In 1931, the iconic bright blue Cubist villa designed by Paul Sinoir was added to the garden. When Saint Laurent passed, his ashes were scattered in the rose garden.
In recent years, Jardin Majorelle has become one of the best things to do in Marrakech. A landmark in Guéliz, Jardin Majorelle opens its doors to tourists from around the world. The villa, a former art studio, has been converted into the Musée Pierre Bergé des Arts Berbères, a Berber art and history museum.
The garden is a far cry from the tranquil property it was during Saint Laurent’s tenure as owner. Swarms of people descend on the grounds daily. Admittedly, during my visit, I did feel like Jardin Majorelle is a little overrated, but it was still interesting to see Saint Laurent’s former residence. I don’t regret going in the slightest.
Jardin Majorelle is open 8 am to 6:30 pm, daily. Tickets for the grounds frequently sell out. Book at least a week in advance online for best availability. Jardin Majorelle grounds tickets are 150 dh ($15 USD) for adults, and 75 dh ($7.50 USD) for children over 10. Ticket prices raise to 200 dh ($20 USD) for adults, and 100 dh ($10 USD) when including entrance to the Pierre Bergé Museum of Berber Arts.
If you’re visiting both the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and Jardin Majorelle, purchase a combination ticket for a reduced rate to visit both attractions.
Try a Traditional Moroccan Hammam
Hammams are traditional Moroccan bath houses, typically located near mosques to cleanse worshippers before prayer. Though hammams in Marrakech may have started out of necessity for hygiene and religious practice, they’ve become one of the best things to do in Marrakech. Options range from casual neighborhood hole-in-the-walls to extravagant, luxury spas.
The signature treatment of a hammam is an eponymous, deep, purifying steam scrub. Speaking from experience, the treatment can feel invasive and exhibitionist but results in silky smooth skin like no other. I’ve truly never felt more clean than I have after a hammam session.
If you choose to visit an upscale Hammam spa rather than a local neighborhood hammam, your treatment will begin by being guided into a warm room, where you’ll be rubbed in savon beldi, also known as Moroccan black soap. Using an exfoliating glove known as a kess, your entire body will be rigorously scrubbed. You’ll be rinsed, then have your hair shampooed to finish off the treatment.
Prices for hammam in Marrakech range wildly based on the spa’s quality and length of treatment. I paid 550 dh ($55 USD) for a 30 minute hammam with a 45 minute tonic massage at Alphais Spa. Below are a few of the best hammam options in Marrakech
- Alphais Spa ($)
- The Spa at La Mamounia ($$$)
- Le Spa Royal Mansour ($$$)
- Les Bains d’Orient ($)
- Heritage Spa ($$)
- Marajah Spa ($$)
Explore Jemaa el Fna’s Night Market
Jemaa el Fna, a bustling town square like no other, is at the heart of Marrakech’s medina. During the day, the square is open, save for the snake charmers, henna scammers, and a smattering of vendors and juice stalls. Around 4 pm, merchants begin setting up their tents. The square transforms into an exuberant night market of street food stalls. Visiting Jemaa el Fna at night is a must-do activity in Marrakech for any visitor to the city, even if it is something of a tourist trap.
Approach food in Jemaa el Fna with caution. In the words of a local, “Even I avoid the food in Jemaa el Fna. It gets locals sick too.” If you are going to eat in Jemaa el Fna, head to vendors that clearly have large groups of locals at them, even if it means waiting a few minutes for a seat to open up. Seek out babbouche, a snail soup also known as ghlal or ghoul. You can find this Moroccan delicacy at stall no. 3, Hassan’s stall.
While a night in Jemaa el Fna can be a lot of fun, it also isn’t without scams. Avoid henna artists in Jemaa el Fna at all costs, who often use black henna. Black henna isn’t henna at all. The henna-looking substance is paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which causes chemical burns on the skin 7-10 days after exposure. That’s not even where the scam ends. For more on the henna scam and other scams to avoid in Marrakech’s medina, click here.
Also, avoid vendors with animals. Jemaa el Fna would give PETA a conniption. During my many Jemaa el Fna crossings in Marrakech, I witnessed monkeys with chains as collars and leashes, snakes abused by snake charmers, piles of turtles in small containers, and a peacock held in an all-too-small cage.
Try Fresh Prickly Pears
Prickly pears, also known as cactus fruit, are small, juicy fruits with a rich, violet color. You can find vendors with carts full of cactus fruits all over souks and produce markets in Marrakech, as well as Jemaa el Fna.
A single cactus fruit typically costs 1 MAD ($0.10 USD). The vendor will properly prepare the fruit for you, and hand you a toothpick. Before you ask, yes, you can eat the seeds. Prickly pears are sweet, kind of like a kiwi—I couldn’t help but love them!
A historic necropolis located in the Kasbah neighborhood, the Saadian Tombs are believed to have been in use since the 14th century in a much more primitive form. It wasn’t until Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Ed Dahbi’s reign that the necropolis was transformed into the ornate cemetery it is today.
The Saadian Tombs were forgotten when Moulay Ismail came to power. Dubbed “Warrior King” and “The Bloodthirsty,” Ismail sought to erase all traces of the Saadi Dynasty. Stunningly, the tombs were excluded from his path of destruction out of fear of committing sacrilege. Instead, a wall was built around the Saadian Tombs, hiding them from the world. A small passage from Kashbah Mosque was made so access wasn’t entirely sealed off.
The tombs laid untouched until 1917, when a French aerial photograph survey captured them. Restoration of the tombs then took place, allowing visitors to view the rediscovered site.
The Saadian Tombs are open 9 am to 5 pm daily. Admission to the Saadian Tombs is 70 dh ($7 USD).
In all honestly, the Saadian Tombs receive mixed reviews from tourists. The tomb grounds, though beautiful, are small and bare-bones, despite admission costing the same as larger cultural landmarks in Marrakech, such as Bahia Palace and El Badi palace. For this reason, I chose not to go.
Despite this, the Saadian Tombs are still a display of Saadi architecture, maintaining their status as being one of the best things to do in Marrakech. If you’re low on time, skip them.
Built in 1158, the Koutoubia Mosque, also known as Kutubiyya Mosque or Mosque of the Booksellers, is the largest mosque in Marrakech. The mosque’s name is a nod to the Arabic word kutubiyyin, meaning booksellers in Arabic, due to the presence of as many as 100 booksellers at Koutoubia Mosque’s base in the 19th century.
The Almohad-style mosque is just a stone’s throw from Jemaa el Fna, featuring beautiful gardens and a large reflecting pool. On the northwestern side of the mosque are ruins of the mosque’s original prayer hall.
Unfortunately, non-Muslims aren’t allowed inside mosques in Morocco, including Koutoubia Mosque. Tourists are still allowed to visit the mosque’s exterior and grounds.
Koutoubia Mosque is open to Muslims from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday.
Drink Fresh Pressed Juice
For being in such close proximity to the largest desert in the world, Morocco is home to a surprising amount of high-quality produce. Oranges and pomegranates grow aplenty in the country.
You’ll taste some of the best orange juice at complimentary breakfasts in riads across Marrakech, on the streets of the medina, and in restaurants. I couldn’t help but notice how many orange trees grew at Bahia Palace during my visit there, only to go to dinner that night and notice an orange hanging above my head.
In Marrakech’s medina, you’ll also see several vendors pressing fresh pomegranate juice for just a few dirhams. If you like tart drinks, trying a cup is a must. It was tough for me to resist not drinking more!
Pomegranates are grown at the foot of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, producing fruit from August to December. Pomegranate juice in Marrakech will be most expensive in Jemaa el Fna and the nearby souks, at 20 MAD a cup ($2 USD). Lower prices can be found further from Jemaa el Fna.
While tourists may know Marrakech for its historic medina, Guéliz, the city’s new town, is a reflection of the city’s future. The luxury neighborhood in Marrakech is known for its upscale shopping and trendy restaurants and bars.
Spend the day exploring Jardin Majorelle and the Musée Yves Saint Laurent before grabbing lunch at Amal Guéliz, a non-profit restaurant and cooking school empowering women in Marrakech through restaurant industry training and serving some of the best traditional Moroccan food in the city.
For a quiet, intimate dinner, stop by Plus61, ranked as one of the 50 best restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa. If you’re seeking something more lively, Baromètre, a restaurant and cocktail bar in Gueliz, is simply unforgettable, from the engaging bartenders to elaborate cocktails and fantastic plates.
Take a Class in Marrakech
One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to try a unique class or experience that allows me to peek into local culture. Unfortunately, the Arabic calligraphy class I’ve had my eye on for years as unavailable while I was visiting, and I was tight on time, so had to forgo a class during my previous trip, but I’m looking forward to trying several next time.
Click below to explore classes in Marrakech:
Argan Oil Classes in Marrakech
Skip scrutinizing your argan oil in the souks or simply buying it at a grocery store to avoid getting scammed. Instead, try your hand at making your own bottle at an argan oil class in Marrakech. During the class, you’ll also learn how to distinguish real argan oil from fake argan oil.
Cooking Classes in Marrakech
After eating traditional Moroccan food in Marrakech for days, I couldn’t help but want to make it at home. Foodies visiting Marrakech can learn to cook traditional Moroccan food on their own at one of the city’s many cooking classes.
Vegetarians aren’t excluded—several cooking classes in Marrakech are able to accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. Cooking classes can provide an amazing glimpse into local life in Marrakech, as many are hosted in the chef’s home, including a visit to the souks to buy ingredients. Cooking glasses can be private or booked as part of a group, the latter being perfect for solo travelers in Marrakech looking to meet fellow visitors.
Babouche Making Class in Marrakech
Colorful babouches, traditional Moroccan slippers, are found all over the Marrakech souks. While it’s easy to buy your own pair for less than $20, you can have a unique experience in Marrakech by making your own leather babouche slippers instead.
Classes take place right in a studio in the souks, lead by a master leather worker. After a few hours of work, you’ll walk away with your own pair of babouche.
Day Trips from Marrakech
If you’re looking to explore Morocco past Marrakech, book one of the popular day trips in Marrakech. Tours can be private or shared, so make sure to read descriptions carefully while booking.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time in my Morocco itinerary to go on a day trip in Marrakech as I opted to fit in a visit to Chouara Tannery in Fes instead. During my next trip to Morocco, I’m excited to check out the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou.
Click below to find the best day trip tours from Marrakech:
Sahara desert tours from Marrakech can take three or four days—not exactly practical if you’re short on time in Morocco. Instead, consider an Agafay Desert tour from Marrakech.
While it’s not exactly the Sahara’s jaw dropping sand dunes, the Agafay Desert still offers an untouched landscape, and popular desert activities. During the day, enjoy quad bike riding and camel trekking. If you’re looking for something less active, book an Agafay Desert Camp with spa treatments like a traditional hammam. At night, have a dinner date for one under the stars.
Easy and convenient to get to, the Agafay Desert is only about an hour from Marrakech. The desert can be done either as a day trip, or as an overnight at a luxury Agafay Desert camp.
Ouzoud Falls are a series of waterfalls flowing into the gorge of the El-Abid River. The waterfalls’ name is Berber, translating into “the act of grinding grain.” Ouzoud Falls is one of the most beautiful natural attractions near Marrakech, perfect for those looking to get out of the city and into nature.
Visitors can choose simply to walk around the waterfalls, or to go swimming, rafting and boating, or hiking to view monkeys.
Ouzoud Falls is only two to three hours from Morocco driving, making the destination perfect for a day trip from Marrakech.
Nestled in the Atlas Mountains near Marrakech are Berber villages, rich with traditional culture. An Atlas Mountains day trip is one of the most booked things to do in Marrakech. You’ll visit traditional Berber villages such as Ait Souka and Ait Mizan, take in views like Mount Toubkal, visit valleys like Imlil Valley and Ourika Valley, and more.
Visiting the Atlas Mountains doesn’t even need to be a full day trip from Marrakech—there are many half-day tours available also. Many Atlas Mountains tours include hiking, so make are you pack activewear before you go.
Once a bustling city along the caravan route from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert, Aït Benhaddou (Ait Ben Haddou, Ait-Ben-Haddou), is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You may recognize this 17th-century fortress from popular shows and movies like Game of Thrones, Aladdin, and Prince of Persia. A day trip to Aït Benhaddou offers the opportunity to explore this once-decorated ksar. Ksar is a North African term describing a Berber fortified village.
Aït Benhaddou may not be the majestic fortress it once was, but still offers a stunning example of southern Moroccan architecture. Over time, the 90-some families living in the kasbah during the 1940s left to resettle on the opposite side of the Ounila River, leaving just five families remaining in the fortress. The lack of inhabitants led to a quick deterioration of the ksar, as earthen architecture is easily subject to damage from weather and requires upkeep. To maintain its historic architecture, Aït Benhaddou underwent five years of preservation from 2007 to 2012.
The kasbah includes a mosque, a town square, two cemeteries, and most recently, areas for threshing grain, and most recently, a cafe. One of the remaining families living in Aït Benhaddou give visitors a glimpse into ancient lifestyle through their traditional cafe, helping to preserve the tradition and heritage of the fortress.
Restaurants in Marrakech for Dining Alone
Dining is absolutely one of the best things to do in Marrakech. The city is filled with wonderful examples of traditional Moroccan cuisine, also offering a flashy fine dining scene for those looking for a modern experience.
If you’re looking for a complete list of the best restaurants in Marrakech, click here. Below are just a few of my must-go spots.
Dar Zellij is the best restaurant in Marrakech for traditional Moroccan food. This intimate restaurant is tucked away in a quiet courtyard in the Medina, that comes alive at night with live music and the fragrance of tajine.
The restaurant has just one vegetarian entrée: the vegetable tajine. For this reason, I was hesitant to go, but if I hadn’t, I would have missed one of my best meals in Morocco. The tajine was surprisingly bright and citrusy, but comforting at the same time. The olives were plump and juicy—a highlight of the dish for me.
The romantic Zellij-tiled space may feel intimidating to a solo traveler, but the crowd at Dar Zellij isn’t restricted to couples. This restaurant makes for the perfect date night for one when you’re seeking a calm oasis from the Medina.
Dar Zellij can be tricky to locate, so the restaurant will send a porter for you, on request. The Medina can get dodgy at night for women dining alone, so I highly recommend taking advantage.
Baromètre and Dar Zellij are tied for the top spot on my list of the best restaurants in Marrakech, for completely different reasons. While Dar Zellij offers an elevated dining experience for traditional Moroccan cuisine in the Medina, Baromètre is a gastronomic, innovative experience in Guéliz.
I discovered Baromètre when looking for the best cocktail bars in Marrakech (of which, there are few). At most of the cocktail bars I’ve visited, the food never stacks up to the drink program, so when planning my night originally, the thought of eating at Baromètre didn’t even cross my mind. However, plans change and this time, I’m glad they did.
Baromètre had me at first sip with its whimsical Naughty Tequila cocktail, served with two syringes for controlling the sugar and spice levels in the drink. At first bite, the love letter I was drafting in my head only got longer. I ordered the burrata to start and tortellini as my main. I’m a bit of a burrata addict, and was surprised by how well it delivered—one of the best I’ve had anywhere. The tortellinis were rich and crave worthy, served with a cheese foam for something different and new.
Unlike many restaurants in Marrakech, Baromètre has bar seating available, which is ideal for solo travelers that may feel hesitant about dining in an upscale restaurant alone.
There’s many rooftop restaurants in Marrakech, but none with a view quite like at L’mida. L’mida’s uninterrupted panoramic view of the medina warrants a visit alone.
Located right in the Marrakech souks, L’mida serves a modern menu inspired by Marrakchi tradition. Seeking something different from the traditional Moroccan food I’d been enjoying for the last few days, I went for the gnocchi berber and burrata. The juice I ordered was so fresh and frothy—perfect for a hot day.
Solo travelers aren’t uncommon at L’mida—I was actually seated next to another solo female traveler, who I befriended during my meal, and spent the afternoon with.
Hotels in Marrakech for Solo Travelers
Though there are hotels in Gueliz, the majority of the best hotels in Marrakech are located in the medina. Large luxury hotels like La Mamounia and Royal Mansour are located in the southern part of the medina. Riads, traditional boutique hotels in Morocco, range from budget to luxury, and are scattered across the medina, most of the best ones being in or near the souks.
If you’re seeking a resort experience with good proximity to popular things to do in Marrakech, turn your attention to Hivernage. South of Gueliz and west of the medina, Hivernage is where popular hotel chains like the Four Seasons and Sofitel have made their home.
If it’s your first time in Marrakech, I recommend against booking one of the resorts in Palmeraie or Annakhil, where sprawling resorts like Amanjena are located. These neighborhoods are at least a 10 minute drive from the medina. You won’t find any popular things to do in Marrakech nearby, either.
Book a riad in Marrakech, for the best experience. Riads are absolutely stunning, featuring traditional architecture and amazing hospitality. Keep in mind that many riads in the medina look like they’re on a main road on a map, but are actually located down narrow, quiet alleyways. Many of these alleyways are perfectly safe. For solo female travelers in Marrakech, they can still be a little unnerving, especially at night when the medina can get sketchy for women.
Click below to find the best hotels in Marrakech:Booking.com
Riad Luciano is a family-owned riad located at the entrance to the northern part of the souks. The beautiful riad blends Italian and Moroccan style, and features a plunge pool, rooftop terrace, spa, and restaurant.
Complimentary breakfast is a staple at most riads in Morocco. This isn’t your average complimentary breakfast—plate after plate will be brought to your table (I’m still dreaming of the msemen and mint tea). Of anywhere I stayed in Morocco, Riad Luciano had the best breakfast.
I cannot stress enough how absolutely phenomenal the staff at Riad Luciano is. During my first stay in Marrakech, my boyfriend was with me. When he got sick, the staff jumped into action, making him special meals, and going so far as to check on him when I had to run an errand. The staff here watches out for their guests, paying attention to every detail and going above and beyond to help. Marrakech can be a difficult city to navigate. Having riad staff like that of Riad Luciano can make all the difference.
Riad Luciano is located down a series of narrow alleyways. Staff will meet your transfer at the drop-off point on Dar el Bacha to show you the way. If you get lost, give them a call, and they’ll help you find your way back. There are several riads located near Riad Luciano, so most of the foot traffic on the alleys leading to the riad is from other tourists, in addition to a few locals (and donkeys).
If you’re looking for the most Instagrammable riad in Marrakech, you’ve probably already seen Riad Yasmine. I can confirm that this Insta-viral boutique hotel is just as photo-worthy in-person as it is online.
Riad Yasmine is a seven-room riad featuring Moorish architecture. No walking down alleys are required—the riad’s front doors open up to a main street in the medina, making it a safe choice for solo female travelers. Due to the riad’s small size and demand due to social media, rooms sell out very quickly. Book several months in advance for a chance to stay at this popular luxury riad.
Art Place Hotel & Ryad Marrakech
In all honesty, I typically wouldn’t recommend a hotel like Art Place Hotel & Ryad. Although it’s labeled as a riad, the property is really more similar to a hotel. You won’t necessarily get the full Moroccan hospitality and experience here, but it will give you a taste of Marrakchi culture with the familiarity of a hotel.
I’m including Art Place because it offers a key advantage for solo travelers compared to other hotels in the Medina: its location. The hotel’s doors open right into Jemaa el Fna. Staying right in Jemaa el-Fna eliminates a lot of risk when the sun goes down, souk streets start to close, and areas outside of Jemaa el Fna become shady (though I still wouldn’t recommend walking around alone late, even in Jemaa el Fna). To boost security, the riad has 24/7 security at the door, and an all-hours reception desk.
Art Place Hotel & Ryad also offers a rooftop pool, and large buffet breakfast. Staff is friendly and helpful. When I stayed alone and needed to leave early in the morning, staff took notice, seeing to it that I made it to my transfer safely and negotiating with my transfer driver on a safe pickup point.
La Mamounia is the pinnacle of decadent luxury hotels in Marrakech. It doesn’t come cheap, but it offers the chance to truly relax and indulge for one (a girl can dream). In addition to its lavish accommodation and gardens, La Mamounia is known around Marrakech for its spa, which offers two traditional hammams, a private hammam, heated indoor and outdoor pools, a weight room, a French bowling pitch, table tennis, tennis courts, balneotherapy, a hairdresser, and a sauna.
The grounds are palatial, featuring Zellij-covered walls, and lush gardens. La Mamounia also features four restaurants, two of which, L’Italien and L’Asiatique, crafted by Michelin-starred chef, Jean-Georges. Alcohol is readily available at the hotel, with four bars onsite.
Rooms at La Mamounia are typically well over $1,000 USD. If you’re lucky, rooms can be found as low as $450 USD a night.
Transportation in Marrakech
Marrakech is a hectic city. In the souks, cars are mostly banned, while motorbikes rip through the narrow streets recklessly. Taxi scams are common in the city, and Uber isn’t available, making it important to know exactly what your options are.
There are two types of taxis in Morocco: petite taxis, and grand taxis. Petite taxis are exactly as they sound: petite. These taxis seat up to three people, and only drive within city boundaries. Grand taxis seat up to six passengers, and are able to drive anywhere in or out of the city. Petite taxis use metered fares (in theory). Grand taxis have a predefined route, fixed price, and are shared, like colectivos in Mexico. Grand taxis do take private rides, at times, but they’re much more expensive than petite taxis.
In Morocco, the color of the taxi corresponds to the city they’re in. In Marrakech, taxis are yellow. Taxis in Marrakech should operate on a metered rate, however drivers often “forget” to turn on the meter, claim it’s broken, or turn the meter on only to turn it off partway through the ride and demand a much higher fare at your destination. If a driver does this, simply get out of the car and walk away—there’s no proof of your fare or trip for a driver to argue with.
To avoid being completely scammed by a taxi in Marrakech, negotiate your fare upfront (though it may not be honored). Taxi vert services also exist in the city. If you call 0524 40 94 99, an operator will dispatch a taxi to you. An additional fee to your trip fare will be added for the service starting at 15 MAD, but the driver is required to have the meter running. Fees for the service are fixed, and vary based on the time of day you’re calling. You’ll be able to recognize a taxi vert driver by the sticker on their windshield.
Fares for all hailed taxis in Marrakech must be paid in cash.
For solo female travelers, I believe the best way to hire a car in Marrakech is through ride-hailing apps, not taxis.
Roby and InDrive
Roby, Heetch, and InDrive are some of the most popular ride-hailing apps in Marrakech. Popular ride hailing apps like Uber and Careem unfortunately no longer exist in the city. Many local Moroccans have switched over to using these apps as taxi scammers don’t discriminate.
While Roby operates more similarly to Uber, InDrive is completely different. Instead of being a fixed rate, you set what you want to pay for your ride. After you set your price, drivers get a chance to bid on the ride with their rate. You can see a driver’s rating before accepting or denying their bid.
Even when booking a ride through a rideshare app, you will need cash.
Due to the taxi mafia’s aggression, rideshare drivers in Marrakech may ask you to sit in the passenger’s seat and greet you like a friend. This is typical, and done to avoid physical violence and harassment from nearby taxi drivers. The same practice can be found in other countries struggling with rideshare-taxi relations, such as Colombia.
Walking is definitely required in Marrakech. For some popular things to do in Marrakech, such as visiting the souks, walking is really the only way to get around. Cars can’t drive down many roads in the medina.
Overall, the Medina is extremely walkable. I only needed to book cars when going to the airport, and Gueliz from the Medina.
Horse and Carriage
Near Koutoubia Mosque, you’ll notice tons of horses pulling festively decorated carriages. These are called calèches, and can hold four or five people.
Prices are negotiated, but typically are around 120-150 MAD ($12-15 USD) for a short ride through Marrakech.
I chose not to take a horse and carriage in Marrakech due to my lack of knowledge around animal treatment (some horses looked tired). Transparently, I have no insight into the treatment of the horses.
Buses in Marrakech
ALSA Marrakech operates Marrakech’s public bus service. I opted for walking or calling InDrive while in Marrakech, as reviewers cite that buses in Marrakech are often inconvenient and packed. Adding to the stress is the confusing fact that ALSA buses do not have a set schedule. Local buses in Marrakech are typically 3-4 MAD ($0.30-0.40 USD).
For an easier bus option in Marrakech, try ALSA’s Tourist Buses. Two tourist bus routes run to and from the airport, also covering some of the best things to do in Marrakech such as Jardin Majorelle, and Jemaa el Fna. Tourist bus tickets are sold by day. 24 to 48 hour tickets are 145-165 MAD ($14.50-16.50 USD). Hours are limited—ALSA Tourist Bus routes only run from 9 am to 6 pm.
Marrakech Private Transfers
Regardless of if you’re traveling to Marrakech solo or with a group, I strongly recommend booking a private transfer in Marrakech to get between the city and Marrakech Menara Airport. Transfers can be booked through your riad, or online in advance.
I’ve both booked private airport transfer in Marrakech from my riad, and through GetYourGuide. The service I booked through GetYourGuide was higher quality and less expensive than booking from my riad. My boyfriend’s driver insisted he stay in the car at night when waiting for his escort to our riad. My driver did the same for me a few hours later, waiting several minutes. I was able to pay online in advance, which meant no stress over withdrawing cash right away. Click here to book the transfer I used.
That said, the transfer I booked through my riad meant a more seamless pickup and drop-off at the riad. Despite its high price, the transfer booked through my riad required payment in cash, directly to the driver. My debit card didn’t work at the ATM in the airport. If I would have booked this method departing from the airport instead of my riad, I would have been in a tough spot.
You really can’t go wrong with either, and both will help you avoid taxi scams at the airport.
Safety in Marrakech for Solo Female Travelers
Marrakech is cautiously safe for solo female travelers. The city is not totally safe, but isn’t inherently unsafe, either.
Men in the Medina are aggressive, often catcalling female tourists. Wearing modest clothing that falls below the knee and completely covers your arms, shoulders, and chest may help mitigate this, but in my experience, all women will be catcalled regardless.
During the day, Marrakech is generally safe for solo female travelers. At night, the medina becomes much more shady for both local and tourist women. I actually had a scary incident when walking on Dar el Bacha around 9 pm. A dawdling man started speeding up from across the street pointedly towards me, cornering me into a wall.
Solo female travelers should avoid walking around the medina alone at night. Gueliz, the new town in Marrakech, is much safer at night for solo female travelers, when compared to the medina.
Solo female travelers should also be aware of popular scams in Marrakech, such as the taxi scam mentioned above, the argan oil scam, especially, the fake guide scam. Click here for more of the most frequently seen scams in Marrakech.
Marrakech Solo Travel FAQ
Marrakech is most known for its beautiful Moorish architecture, cultural sites, bustling souks, and Yves Saint Laurent landmarks. Marrakech is nicknamed the “Red City” for its chalky walls.
Theoretically, you’re free to wear what you want in Marrakech, and you’ll see many tourists in revealing clothing. Dressing modestly is recommended for the safety of solo female travelers. Consider wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and falls below the knee. Avoid low cut necklines and revealing backs. Then again, my local photographer in Marrakech explained that Marrakech is more open-minded than given credit for.
A week may feel a little long for Marrakech alone. Seven days is a leisurely amount of time to visit all of the top things to do in Marrakech. You’ll have time to do some of the nearby day trips, as well as local classes and experiences.
Alcohol is allowed in Marrakech. You won’t find much alcohol at restaurants in the medina (though some exist), but will find alcohol in luxury hotels and riads across the city, restaurants and bars in Gueliz, Carrefour, and liquor stores, like French chain, Nicolas. Morocco actually produces a few beers, and has several vineyards making Moroccan wine in 14 different wine regions in the country.
The best months to visit Marrakech in are March to May, in the spring; and September to November, in the fall. During these months, weather is known for warm temperatures that aren’t too hot or cold yet (yes, Marrakech cools down).
I visited mid-February. Weather was temperature, mostly sticking between 60 and 75 degrees. Nights and day with cloud coverage felt cool. On a sunny day, the temperature was perfect for walking all over the city.
Marrakech is hesitantly safe for a solo female traveler. Solo female travelers will very likely be safe, but should avoid walking alone at night, and should exercise high caution. Solo female travelers in Marrakech should also know that catcalling is aggressive, and frequent.
English is widely spoken at things to do in Marrakech that are popular with tourists, like the souks, and restaurants. French and Darija, Morocco’s Arabic dialect, are also commonly spoken across Marrakech. Spanish isn’t quite as commonly spoken as the three languages previously listed, but also makes a frequent appearance in Morocco.
Locals in Marrakech are incredibly friendly and hospitable to all people, including American tourists. All travelers, regardless of citizenship, should be on the lookout for scammers, who use fake hospitably to trick all tourists.
Morocco is safe for American citizens overall. All tourists, including American citizens, should stay away from the southern border of Morocco with Western Sahara, where conflict is ongoing.
Uber no longer exists in Marrakech, due to being forced out by the taxi mafia in Marrakech. Instead, use Roby or InDrive.
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Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.